Spinach, Cheese and Almond Phyllo Tart

Another dish I could eat every day and be quite happy, thank you!

Another dish I could eat every day and be quite happy, thank you! It’s a night shot so please excuse the flash.

Here’s a little tart that’s free-formed, which in my case resulted in a rectangle. You could actually make it rounded, I suppose, if your phyllo happens to come in a different shape than that which we get here. But this rectangle format was a no-brainer using locally purchased phyllo from the freezer, and also seemed to give the tart a proper amount of phyllo-to-filling ratio in each slice. It makes for a pretty presentation and is not too difficult to make, once you get over what I like to call “Fear of Phyllo.”

Perhaps I should digress enough to say that I’ve suffered from “fear of phyllo” in the past, afraid that it would dry out before I could have my way with it, so to speak. But I find it well worth the minimal effort it takes to work with phyllo. Just keep the portion you plan working with unrolled on plastic cling film, wax or butcher paper and under a damp cloth, covering the remaining sheets each time with the damp cloth as you are working on the others, and you should be just fine. I’m sure there will be instructions to that effect on the package.

This recipe makes a fantastically full-flavored tart that is good for lunch all by itself, or for dinner served with a side or a salad such as the Mediterranean one in the last post. I would definitely make this for company and will also be modifying it soon, using smaller pieces of the phyllo pressed into mini muffin tins to make appetizer tarts.

And on another note, and I hope an interesting one for you, this week has been about some new beginnings for me…or rather a return to some creative endeavors from my past. Stay tuned for a little departure post, hopefully by the time of my next one, to share what’s going on. Meanwhile, enjoy this recipe, have a great weekend and here’s a little teaser photo to whet your interest!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

*****

Spinach, Cheese and Almond Phyllo Tart
Serves 6

1 large red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and minced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
several grinds of black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Two 10-oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed and drained of as much liquid as possible
2 eggs, whisked to combine
1/2 cup slivered, blanched and toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 Tablespoon Panko breadcrumbs
Eight 9″ x 14″ unbaked phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen (mine was frozen)
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Brush some of the melted butter on a large baking sheet or flat pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and the garlic, stirring until the onion is softened and transparent, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach, salt, pepper and nutmeg to the onion and garlic, and cook a minute or two longer, stirring, until any liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 4 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, feta, cottage cheese, almonds, Panko bread crumbs and the spinach mixture stir until well mixed.

Working on the flat surface of your buttered baking sheet, lay down 1 sheet of the phyllo dough and, using a pastry brush, brush it lightly with some of the melted butter. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of the parmesan cheese over the butter, then top with another sheet of phyllo, repeating the butter, parmesan and phyllo sheets until all eight sheets are stacked on top of each other. Spoon the spinach filling down the center of your phyllo sheet, spreading it evenly and leaving about two inches of the phyllo uncovered all the way around it. Fold up the two long sides of the phyllo to just come up and over the top edge of the filling and brush the edges of the phyllo with some melted butter. Fold the two short ends of the phyllo just up and over the short edges of the filling and the ends of the long sides to make an evenly folded “package” and brush those ends with butter to seal it. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over the top of the spinach filling, and bake the tart in the oven until the tart is lightly browned on the top and the phyllo is golden brown (see photo below.) Remove from the oven and allow the tart to sit for about 5 minutes. Slice crosswise into six even slices and serve warm or at room temperature.

Tart2

If there are leftovers, they keep well completely cooled, placed in the fridge and reheated gently in the microwave the next day. The phyllo stays amazingly crisp!

*****

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38 thoughts on “Spinach, Cheese and Almond Phyllo Tart

    • Yes the perspective on the shot makes it look rather enormous, doesn’t it? Actually it does truly make 6 filling servings for adults, perhaps two for a hungry teenager. πŸ™‚ It ends up being about a 7 x 11 size. Thanks, BAM!

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  1. Yay! If your cat image is any indication of what you mean by “a return to some creative endeavors of my past.” πŸ™‚

    Tart looks delicious! Hope to give it a try.

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    • Hey Lady, and yes, you are correct. After 10 years away, I’m completing a 1 month stint at Mudfire and on my way back to Callanwolde in April. I’ve been thinking about you lately, and hope all is well and good in your life. We hated missing your show during the holidays. Last year was a doozy for us. We need to catch up. πŸ™‚

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  2. This tart looks fantastic, Betsy, like an open-faced spanakopita. I got over my “fear of phyllo” by buying a 2nd box of the sheets. Call it “insurance phyllo” but one way or another, the dish is going to get made! We have small-sized tart cups made with phyllo on some supermarkets. I wonder if they could be used, assembled with your filling, and then frozen. It sure would make this dish more accessible for me. I just might give it a try, Betsy, because I really do like the sound of this tart. Thanks for sharing.
    Can’t wait to see where you’re headed next. πŸ™‚

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    • Hi John, interesting that you mention the small sized tart cups as we have those, too. The only problem was that they were precooked and this filling has uncooked eggs, so the times didn’t match up. But perhaps if you froze them that might give enough time to bake the filling and cook the egg? I’m not sure, but I thought about it! πŸ™‚ This is indeed very much like an open faced spanokopita, and I hope you’ll enjoy it if you try it. Also let me know if you find that those pre-made shells work. Happy Saturday!

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    • Hi John, I’ve been using phyllo for many years and I find (after much experimentation) that freezing baked product fares much better than freezing it unbaked and baking as required. You could easily make your own phyllo cups by cutting phyllo squares and pushing them into the muffin cups (using a similarly sized glass). Works like a charm.

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  3. Wow! Betsy that is some tart; I’m all over those flavours. As I was reading your post I wondered how well it would keep and then you mentioned that it keeps crispy even after microwaving, this sounds like a perfect brunch or lunch for froends. I can even imagine a baked egg on top for a brunch.
    And the photo of that stylized cat is rather intriguing β€” I wonder what kind of surprise you have in store for us!

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    • Hi Eva, and thanks for your great compliments. This tart is pretty rich, actually. I’d probably serve a fruit salad or some lighter item alongside it for brunch as it is quite dense…but that’s just me! πŸ™‚ Hopefully all will be revealed in my next post, surprise-wise!

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    • Hi Tanya and thank you. I love phyllo, too, and want to commit to using more of it. I like it so much better than piecrust in general. Yes, you’re entirely correct, that is a cat face! I plan to have the big reveal in my next post, so hang tight! πŸ™‚

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  4. You know what I like about this tart Betsy? Everything. You know which meal I most want to serve it to my family and guests? Every meal. mm hm. This is getting pinned and this is getting made as quickly as I can get to to. It’s a beaut!

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    • Thank you so much, Spree! For some reason I hadn’t thought about this for brunch, but several folks have mentioned it and now I’m thinking…but of course! I plan to make another tomorrow night…we like it that much, and I sure hope you will, too. πŸ™‚

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  5. You’ve got the perfect combination of ingredients in this one.. I love, really love, phyllo.. and when I opened your page and saw this tart in all it’s glory.. I was smitten. I’m sitting here imagining taking a big slice:) I can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to, it looks exciting if that photo has anything to do with it! xx

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    • I’m making another one of these tonight, because we loved it so much and I need to use my remaining phyllo…so why not? Now that i’ve gotten phyllo, I remember how much I love it, so may need to experiment some more with it! Thanks for your great comments, Barb. πŸ™‚ I will probably make the big reveal on the photo later in the week. Have a super day!

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    • Yes, I love spinach for that very reason…no matter how much or how little of it is in a dish, regardless of whether it is combined with lots of cheese or cream, it always makes me feel healthier! πŸ˜‰ Seriously though, I think this is a relatively healthy dish all in all, and thanks so much for your comment, Yummy!

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  6. Hi Betsy. This looks incredible. So many of my favorite flavors and such great texture. Phyllo can be tricky but you look like you have amply conquered your fear. Good for you and for getting back to your creative endeavors. That’s a beautiful piece of art that you are teasing us with. Hope to hear more about it soon.

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  7. I love the name of your blog. It reminds me of the British expression “Bits ‘n Bobs”. I just found your wonderful blog, via John’s (also wonderful) blog!! And this recipe looks amazing!!

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    • Thank you so much for your comment, Cecile. How interesting…I hadn’t heard that expression, and in fact named this blog somewhat after the breadcrumb trail in the Grimms Fairy Tale Hansel and Gretel! I’m so glad you visited and that you like my blog. Now I must come and check your blog out, too. πŸ™‚

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  8. Hi Betsy, I never have much luck keeping phyllo pastry crisp… it seems to turn into a soggy mess the next day sadly. Freshly baked of course it’s fab, but it does lose it’s glory by the next day. The best thing I’ve found is to warm it in a conventional oven. Ends up tasting a bit doughy, but crisp-ish.

    Lovely looking tart – spinach is a great pie filler. The tart looks absolutely huge… maybe it’s just the angle of the photo!

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    • I know, the photo makes this look enormous, but actually it was the angle and it’s only about 10 1/2 inches long! Both times I’ve made this, the phyllo has stayed pretty crisp the next day and I think it may be because of layering the parmesan between each layer of phyllo. Still, I won’t lie and say it’s as crisp as right out of the oven, but we’ve microwaved it sliced the next day with great results.

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  9. I hated spinach as a kid but now I can’t get enough of it and I just know I will LOVE your recipe Betsy.
    Can’t wait to hear all about your new adventure but from the picture I am guessing it has to do with mud and fire πŸ˜‰

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  10. Pingback: There and Back Again: Some Mud and Fire. | bits and breadcrumbs

  11. Pingback: Longer Days, Lighter Meals and a Little Anniversary! | bits and breadcrumbs

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